The simplest way to benefit from a rising market is to buy an index fund. While individual stocks can be big winners, plenty more fail to generate satisfactory returns. Investors in Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE:RGR) have tasted that bitter downside in the last year, as the share price dropped 38%. That falls noticeably short of the market return of around 2.5%. At least the damage isn't so bad if you look at the last three years, since the stock is down 27% in that time. Furthermore, it's down 24% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
Unfortunately Sturm Ruger reported an EPS drop of 17% for the last year. The share price decline of 38% is actually more than the EPS drop. Unsurprisingly, given the lack of EPS growth, the market seems to be more cautious about the stock.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Sturm Ruger's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We've already covered Sturm Ruger's share price action, but we should also mention its total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Sturm Ruger's TSR of was a loss of 36% for the year. That wasn't as bad as its share price return, because it has paid dividends.
A Different Perspective
Investors in Sturm Ruger had a tough year, with a total loss of 36% (including dividends) , against a market gain of about 2.5%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 0.9% per year over five years. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Sturm Ruger by clicking this link.
Sturm Ruger is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.